Tagbilaran, Monday, 23 June 2008 03:07:20
In the Bohol town of Catigbian, the Katigbawan Festival evolved into the Carabao (water buffalo) Beauty Pageant, the first of its kind in the Philippines.
Several festivals across the country feature carabaos. The Carabao Festival held annually during the month of May in Pulilan, Bulacan, features a parade of carabaos. The Feast of San Isidro Labrador also held in May in Angono, Rizal is also called Carabao Festival and features a procession of carabao carts.
But only in Bohol that carabaos are considered "beauty queens" in a beauty pageant just intended for real ladies.
Carabao is very important in the Philippines. It is a national symbol of our country as it represents no less than the Filipino's strength and sense of industry.
As a popular figure in Philippine literature, the carabao is portrayed in folk tales as a strong and hardworking animal, working side-by-side with the farmer without complaint.
Our parents are reminding us to work hard. Before in school, I remember our reading comprehension. If you read slowly, your name would appear in the carabao with a cart, while the boat represents the not-so-intelligent pupils and the airplane represents the brilliant pupils in the classroom.
This "beast of burden" is not only pictured as a loyal companion of farmers but also as a reliable means of transportation, whether for people or for heavy loads. This scene can be seen in the rural areas, perfect for picture taking.
Carabao statues can be found in Rizal Park in Manila and Marikina's Riverbanks. The uniform of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines also features a carabao-head slide. The Inquirer's icon is carabao named Burito. A non-government organization in the US, the Books for the Barrios, Inc. official logo is carabao with a child riding with a book.
Back in Catigbian town, this is the second time that the town held the carabao beauty pageant in consonance of the towns' foundation day. Mayor Roberto ‘Bertsal" Salinas conceived this idea for tourism purposes.
Preparations for the Carabao Beauty Queen begin early in the morning. The owners had to take their carabao for a "spa," in the mud. The bovines were shaved; their horns and hooves rubbed with oil and given shine. Some farmers paint their animals while others decorate their carabaos with flowers and pieces of cloth. Here, owners were turned into designers!
If the owners think their carabaos were ready, they would bring them to the Catigbian Livestock and Auction Center for a final "retouch."
The grand parade was colorful with the 22 candidates! Colorful eyes, colorful lips... there were carabaos who looked like Britney Spears, hiphop mooohhh and carabao ala Cleopatra ... ati-atihan costume, etc...
The parade started at Livestock Auction Center, then at Catigbian Market and passed through the Catigbian Municipal Hall.
|Carabao: Best in Talent|
The barangay folks accompanied their carabaos in the parade showing unwavering support to "candidates."
Schoolkids who witnessed the parade were so excited to see the colorful carabaos.
There was a talent portion wherein carabaos showcased their talents; there were those who run, walked seductively, peed in front of the crowd and released their dung which stirred the audience!
A lot of the carabaos would not only kneel but also walk on their knees like penitents in front of the church.
The judges had difficulties in choosing the winners. The best in talent went to Triple Union, darling of the crowd went to a carabao from Poblacion West, the sexy carabao went to a carabao from Rizal; the best cowboy was Alexander Alampayan. And the Carabao of the Year went to carabao named Art of barangay Rizal.
According to Mayor Salinas, "Catigbian has plenty of carabaos." People are coming to Catigbian to look for carabao.
Katigbawan festival is a feast for human and spiritual satisfaction from the Visayan word Katagbawan. It is also a combination of the words katigbi, tigbaw and kabawan. Katigbi, a grass species grown in the town, is the origin of the word Catigbiuan. Tigbaw is also another word for caves, Kabawan is Binol-anon for carabao Auction Market which Catigbian is known for in the province of Bohol.
The carabao beauty pageant was aired on GMA 7's toprating news programs 24 Oras and Saksi and on QTV-11's Balitang Tanghali and News onQ. I would like to thank Willie Tapales, Toning Reformina, Ardissa Estavilla, Jojo, Pitong, Riza and Lolong members of the documentation committee for their support.
There was a real beauty pageant for ladies after the carabao beauty pageant. This time, from among a dozen beauties, 18-year-old Aimee Ann Anunciado of district 1 was chosen Miss Katigbawan Festival 2008 on June 16.
Anunciado won 13 of the special awards and topped the swimwear, evening gown, interview and talent competitions before gaining the unanimous nod of the judges as the night's big winner.
Her court included Ronnelyn Silagan, district 8, 1st runner-up; Birselides Gaudicos, Catigbian District Hospital, 2nd runner- up; Resyl Joagpao, district 2, 3rd runner-up; and Lindy Love Dinorog, district 5, 4th runner-up.
It was a fast-paced and well-rehearsed three-hour show that featured 12 of Catigbian's fairest ladies who competed in skimpy two-piece swimsuits and in fabulous evening gowns created by EJ Relampagos Couture.
Mayor Salinas revealed that the newly-crowned will represent the town in the forthcoming Miss Bohol Sandugo pageant which was won by Catigbian's very own Jennifer Ejoc- Sarmiento, now a college instructor in Holy Name University, in 1999.
Production values were topnotch as evidenced by the classy and stylish staging of the pageant that was hosted by the versatile Raul Phillip Gatal.
Entertainment was provided by Jerome Sala (who after years was seen performing) and the HNU Diwanag Dance Theatre and Cultural Troupe.
The board of judges chaired by Pureza Veloso-Chatto included provincial board member Cesar Tomas Lopez, Mae Ann Ramasola, Alona Tropical's Nila Montero, and 2006 Bb. Pilipinas- World Ana Maris Igpit.
Project Chair was Jossie Montes, Catigbian LGU LGOO and Joan Dalmao, project co-chair. Choreography, direction, concept, and wardrobe by the talented and creative tandem of EJ Relampagos and Deo Guden
Except for some minor technical glitches, the pageant was a rousing success and truly captured the essence of the annual Katigbawan Festival as envisioned by its founder, Catigbian Mayor, Roberto Salinas together Vice-mayor Necita Digaum and the rest of the hard-working Catigbian LGU.
The town's very supportive and low-profile First Lady Nerissa Yap-Salinas was so pleased of the girls' performance that she gave the top three winners a round trip all-expense paid trip to Manila and Cavite.
The festival theme was "Peace and Unity, the Key to Progress and Development."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.bohol.ph.
Leo P. Udtohan